Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Spy who Nagged Me

Well, it all happened a few weeks ago. I was in my usual coffee stopover on my way back from office. As I sat there enjoying my coffee and smoke, I met this guy. Well actually, he was sitting there first, busy talking on his phone. I had come later.Finding no vacant tables, I asked him if I could join him. Knowing very well that it would take nothing less than an earthquake to vacate any of the tables in the next couple of hours. I was familiar with the people at the other tables...they were regulars.
Anyways after he got off his phone, that is when it all started. At first he observed me for some time. I had to break the ice. I thanked him. He smiled.

"So what do you do? Are you into music?" he asked.

I replied I am an industrial designer. And went on to explain what it meant.

The next question he asked, caught me completely off guard.
"So what do you think I do?"

Now this was a trick question. How the hell am I supposed to know the profession of a person who I met 10 minutes ago. Hell, I didn't even know his name by that time. And it wasn't as if he was sitting there in some uniform or tell-tale clothing which would offer me some hints. The logical guess would be a BPO executive or a Software Engineer...since these are the most common professionals you come across in India these days. If you just throw a stone...chances are it would hit a person who is either one of these two.

I took the safer guess and said -
"Sotware Engineer?"
[it is always better to try this option...a BPO executive would not mind being called a S/W engineer..but the converse is not true]


He smiled. Shook his head and dared me to try again.

"BPO?"

Same smile.

I was dumb founded. Clearly I was not enjoying this "Guess what I do" game of his. After a hard day's work, the last thing I wanted to do now was speculate on the work profiles of random people. I told him that this game of his was surely beyond my intellectual capabilities.

Triumphant smile. " I work for the military intelligence" he said.

He went on. Went on about how his work involves great danger. How he is supposed to be under cover all the time. How he is responsible for espionage activities in insurgent areas. How his mission is to uncover militants from the general population.How he got shot 13 times in a mission, yet survived. How he was actually a chef by education but ended up as a spy.

The experience left me wondering.."what the fuck?"
I mean imagine being a top secret under cover spy.So what do you do about it...you blow your cover to a person who you have met 15 minutes ago at a coffee joint. Not very intelligent for somebody who works in the Military Intelligence.
Obviously this was a brazen lie. But the way he carried it off till the time he left, even after realising that I was not believing an iota of what he said...is commendable.i am not even sure if he actually was a chef...but he surely did cook up a story.

And I thought I had seen them all.

Gambit

gambit n. An opening in chess in which a minor piece, or pieces, usually a pawn, is offered in exchange for a favorable position.

The past few weeks have been an ordeal. Quite a few intersting events did occur during this period. However the majority of this period had been spent in trying to find answers.

This exhaustive soul searching resulted in me quitting my job last week.

I had been in the dilemma for quite some time...to quit or not to quit [with due pardons to the bard].
On one hand, I was not getting the creative satisfaction I needed to go on...on the other hand being employed by the global leaders of the concerned sector made quitting an uneasy decision. Add to it the fact that this was my first job after college days...hard earned after nightmarish months of unemployment, broken knee caps and assorted personal mishaps...including being chased by the hostel care taker to vacate the premises. The care taker incident had become a regular affair those days...a fact I capitalised on by using his morning visits as a natural alarm clock. Anyways...those were bad days. So naturally the thought of quitting my job was not an easy decision to make.
However, I realised after endless bi-polar moments of hope and despair...that I needed to quit. I do what I do for one reason and one reason only...the satisfaction of creation. Anything that asked me to compromise with this would not make me happy in the long run.

We often confuse pleasure with happiness. The former comes from without...the latter comes from within.

It has been a difficult decision and only time will tell if it is the right one. Above all, it has been heavily influenced by my instinct rather than pure logic. But as one friend of mine once said -
"Sometimes to take a big leap forward, you have to take a few steps backwards.."